Director's Update - March 2018

Tēnā koutou katoa

A month into my role as Acting Director, Office of Ethnic Communities, I already feel at home here. The support and dedication of the hard-working team of professionals at the Office has played a big part in this, for which I am very grateful.

For those of you who may be wondering about the skills and experience I bring, I am a member of the Department of Internal Affairs’ Senior Leadership Cohort, and a colleague of the previous Director, Wen Powles. I come from another management role in the Policy, Regulation and Communities Branch of the Department, where I am responsible for branch development, strategy, planning and reporting functions.

While I may only be keeping the seat warm awaiting the interim Director’s arrival in late April, I aim to ensure that all of our stakeholders - including our Minister, the Government agencies we work with, and the spectrum of ethnic communities throughout New Zealand - continue to receive the same high standards of service they have to date.

Our collective endeavours at the Office of Ethnic Communities aim to support the development of ethnic communities and their sense of belonging. Whether that entails actively supporting events that recognise and celebrate cultural diversity, or helping to champion ethnic diversity in government appointment processes, the payoff is enormous and hugely rewarding as a nation. This can be seen in the contribution our ethnic communities make to New Zealand, both culturally and economically.

New Zealand is one of the most ethnically diverse countries globally. Our diversity is forecast to increase and this poses complex challenges for us as a nation. We need to face these with a blend of creativity, imagination, dedication and care for the sensibilities of those we serve.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish all women a belated International Women’s Day! This is especially significant given the commemoration of 125 years of Suffrage in New Zealand. I encourage you and your communities to participate in all the events happening all around New Zealand to celebrate 125 Suffrage I look forward to working with you all.

Kia kaha
“Austin”